"You got to dance with them what brung you."While everyone else is telling her that her striking is not good enough, she needs to work on her striking and eleven different variations of the same thing all over again, I tell her,
"You need to make sure you work on your throws and arm bars."I've seen enough judo players who wanted to prove they were tough, or that they could really stand up and fight or who knows what they were thinking that stood up and got punched around. What is the point of that? Seriously, if you are winning because of your judo, where do you get the dumb idea to quit focusing on judo?
Almost all of my matches were won on the mat, mostly by pins or arm bars. The two go together. When people are fighting out of a pin, they often give up an arm. A player focusing so much on keeping her arms in tight is easier to turn over into a pin. All of those years, and even to this day, people will say I was not much of a judo player, did not have much technique. Many well-meaning coaches told me that I should focus on my standing technique. Makes sense, right? It was definitely my weakest point.
I remember a lot of coaches telling me,
"Just think, as good as your matwork is, if your standing technique was equally good, you'd be best in the world."Fortunately for me, I was unable to follow that advice because my knees were so bad many judo throws were physically impossible for me. A couple of years ago, I had my right knee replaced.
I looked at it a different way. I thought, if I was beating almost everyone with matwork as it was, if I could make my matwork even better, no one would beat me. I didn't need to be great at standing technique. I just needed to be good enough not to get thrown for ippon and to knock the person down to the mat once in a six-minute match. (Finals were six minutes back in the prehistoric age when I competed.)
"You're being really successful at something, so you should quit doing that and instead do something you're not good at."